Update: Chair Liz McEntee's Statement and EDAS COVID-19 response


Dear colleague,

I hope this email finds you well as you navigate the uncertainties and responses to the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Last week, I commenced my first term as the new Chair of EDAS (the Economic Development Association Scotland). I take on this role at a time like no other. When I was appointed in December, I could not have imagined the changes that would take place to our working lives and personal freedoms in just a few short months, let alone the terrible human cost this pandemic is bringing. 

The current COVID-19 crisis is a game changer. While UK and Scottish Government responses rightly prioritise public health measures to save lives, this comes at huge cost to our economy. Throughout this unprecedented time, I know that our role in EDAS is to build an understanding of what this means for our economy and of the best way those working in economic development can respond. 

In this regard, I am thankful to be chairing a highly skilled board that reflects the diverse interests of the economic development community in Scotland, to Robert Pollock, who has led EDAS so ably throughout the last five years and to the excellent EDAS staff who support and enable all we do. 

Our priority in the weeks and months ahead will be to listen to our members, sharing their views and ideas, so we can make the case for a comprehensive economic recovery plan when the time comes – one that focuses on wellbeing and equality as well as growth as we continue to lead debate and dialogue about creating an inclusive economy . In all of this, we will look to new ways to engage, safely, with you as we shape this important agenda and work to promote economic prosperity in every sense for Scotland’s people, businesses and communities in the years to come.   

EDAS has prepared the statement below on the new work we will be considering during this time, from looking right now at our resilience and ability to best support the economic development community; to building an understanding of how COVID-19 and its impact here and at global level will affect our economy; and to what will be needed in terms of recovery and restructuring going forward when the world has experienced such a seismic shift.

As a Board, we will be meeting virtually every two to six weeks during this time to assess how we can support our members going forward, whilst creating spaces to engage with you in shaping what we do. I very much look forward to working with you during this unprecedented time in all of our lives. I am sure that what we are facing now will forge new relationships and ways of working that will stand us in good stead as we move through the crisis and beyond. It is certainly a reminder of our vulnerability, strength and humanity.  

Best wishes,

Liz McEntee 
Chair, EDAS 

EDAS COVID-19 Statement: April 2020 

As with all organisations we are trying to understand the implications of the pandemic for our work. We recognise that members will be under intense pressure to cope with the economic development consequences of the current emergency and we will try to organise our contribution accordingly.

We currently see three main phases which we will have to respond to, although the nature and timing of these will be very much dependent on how the pandemic and the response of governments evolves:

  • Resilience - what can be done to help the survival of the people and business that form the foundation of the economy – e.g. how can we assist members to share the lessons of experience? (April-June months)
  • Recovery - how can we begin to rebuild as the immediate crisis eases – e.g. what are the lessons from elsewhere? (July-December)
  • Restructure – how can we understand the longer-term opportunities and threats that will emerge from the enormous shock the economy has faced? This may require some significant re-imagining of economic objectives and assets. (September onwards).

As Graeme Roy of the Fraser of Allander Institute recently wrote:

 “The economy that will emerge from this may look quite different and not just because many businesses may struggle to survive. How individual sectors and businesses will adapt over the next few months – from retail through to universities – may change behaviours forever. The government’s response to the public health crisis is arguably the first step on a new social partnership between the State and business, perhaps unlocking a much broader conversation about inequalities and sharing the proceeds of growth more evenly across society.”

We will endeavour to help members keep on top of trends that begin to emerge as the economy undergoes a significant reset. We think our current policy themes will continue to have relevance in this environment, although we will keep them under review. The precise content and nature of our events programme will be adapted as circumstances develop.

With over 3,000 members and a positive approach to collaborative working, we encourage your involvement and welcome your input.

About Liz McEntee

Liz McEntee is a Director with Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS), the main development support agency for the third sector in the city. During her extensive career, she has worked for a range of national and local charities and a major UK social enterprise as well as in further education and local authority economic development.  

She brings a wealth of knowledge about people and place-based regeneration as well as expertise in good governance through her work with SCVO, GCVS, and extensive board experience. She is a passionate advocate for economic and social justice in Scotland and valued for her authentic leadership style, strategic thinking, interpersonal skills and collaborative approach to partnership working. 

She holds an MSc (Distinction) in Local Economic Development from the University of Glasgow and is a Fellow of the RSA.

About EDAS

EDAS provides opportunities for:
  • Continuing professional development, through training, events and briefings covering policy and research updates and lessons from practice and other places,
  • Networking with members and other stakeholders in economic development in the public, private and third sectors,
  • Influencing the development of policy from the perspective of having to put it into practice.

Membership of EDAS is an investment which will generate returns thorough increased effectiveness and improved outcomes, alongside greater efficiency and higher productivity.

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